Streaming Video Consulting

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Let’s face it; there are no university degrees for streaming encoding, which means that most streaming producers are self-taught and may have critical gaps in their encoding-related knowledge.

Jan Ozer has been compressing video since 1991, and has consulted with some of the worlds largest video producers. As a contributing editor for Streaming Media Magazine, Jan has reviewed most mainstream live and on-demand encoding products and is on a first name basis with product managers and C level executives so can quickly get any questions answers or problems resolved.

Jan is also a video producer and has authored books on video production and editing as well as compression, so can assist with production and workflow-related challenges as well as encoding. While the consulting projects he has completed over the last 20 years run the gamut, here are the most common services that he has performed. Note that streaming related production and training services are described here.

Project Types

Preset Creation or Review

Workflow Analysis and Review

Online Video Platform (OVP) Selection and Management

General Compression-Related Consulting

Fees and Getting Started

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Preset Creation or Review

Key benefits: Ensures that video plays smoothly on all target playback platforms, and that encoded video offers the optimal blend of data rate and quality.

Typical procedure: Client provides:

  • A list of target platforms
  • Existing encoding presets
  • A 1-2 minute representative sample of the type of footage being encoded
  • Files encoded using the existing presets.

Services performed:

  • We analyze the presets for compatibility with stated target platforms and delivery techniques
  • We compare the presets to our database of other streaming producers in similar markets
  • We run test encodes to ensure that the client’s encoder is providing optimal quality
  • If changes are suggested, we provide files encoded using suggested presets for comparison purposes

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Case Study: Movie site Fandor specializes in shorts, independents, film festivals favorites, classics and international films. Following the procedure defined above, we analyzed the presets Fandor had created for computer, web and over the top (OTT) playback. Here are the comments from Fandor’s Director of Content Operations, W Gunn.

I have consulted with Jan Ozer on multiple occasions concerning best practices for streaming products, processes, and infrastructure. Jan's knowledge and expertise helps Fandor provide the highest quality streaming service and the best experience for our customers. I recommend Jan highly as a streaming media domain expert. In this growing industry, he is an invaluable, professional resource.

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Workflow Analysis and Review

Key benefits: Ensures that video workflows are efficient and effective, and that video is produced with the optimal data rate and quality. 

Typical procedure: Services here are very flexible. Typically, a client calls with quality or efficiency related concerns, perhaps during the transfer from editor to encoder, or from encoding platform to OVP. We assess the current workflows, perform and supply comparative testing and provide specific recommendations.

Pricing: Pricing depends upon the services performed. All engagements start with a conference discussing the scope of work and a hard time/dollar estimate is provided. Fees won’t exceed estimates without prior approval.

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Case Study 1: World Trade Press is a publishing and information products company dedicated to providing reliable, up-to-date digital media essential for researchers, educators, travelers, and logistics and international trade professionals. The company had contracted for high-volume encoding services with an off-shore provider and was dissatisfied with the quality and throughput. We provided new encoding presets and a screencam documenting the optimum workflow in Premiere Pro for efficiency and quality.

Here are comments from Digital Asset Manager, Elizabeth Freitas.

Jan is well-versed in streaming media for emerging applications and devices. After analyzing our video production needs, he immediately created a file with better quality and a smaller file size than we had yet received. He also took the time to create sample files for other formats and to document the parameters for our suppliers. Jan is very responsive and typically fulfills requests within the day, or even the hour. I'd highly recommend him to anyone looking to streamline their online video and sound files.

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Case Study 2: Babyweight.tv offers expecting and new mothers a variety of fitness, health and wellness videos to help get and stay fit during and after pregnancy and beyond. Working with Babyweight’s editors, we created Compressor presets for final web delivery and for uploading to YouTube, and helped formulate the optimal workflow for exporting from Final Cut Pro X to Compressor. When delivery pressures got tight, we encoded about 80 videos for the web site and for the YouTube previews. Babyweight.tv founder and owner, Micky Marie Morrison, said,

Neither my editors, who where fresh out of film school, or myself, knew much about compression, which is obviously critical for delivering web videos. Jan taught us all what we needed to know, created the necessary presets, and provided some very necessary encoding services. While remaining a valuable resource, Jan also made sure I was able to encode subsequent videos without his assistance.

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Online Video Platform (OVP) Selection and Negotiation

Key benefits: Help identify the most relevant factors to consider when choosing (or renewing) an online video platform, and obtain comparative pricing to ensure the best possible pricing.

Typical procedure: We are brought in when a company is considering changing  to an online video platform or changing their current OVP provider. We identify key requirements, find the most relevant service providers, assess their suitability and obtain competitive pricing so the client can make an informed decision.

Case study (name available upon request): The client was dissatisfied with their current OVP and wanted to see if they could obtain the same or better services at a lower monthly cost. We identified their most relevant needs, collected historical usage data and obtained bids from four OVPs, including for the cost of converting existing videos and metadata to a new OVP. Once conversion costs were considered, the existing OVP proved the least expensive, but the client was able to negotiate more favorable pricing. The client's chief marketing office commented;

Jan's knowledge of the OVP market identified needs and costs that we initially didn't consider, and steered us away from a low cost provider that would have been a nightmare to transition to and wouldn't have been able to provide the training and support that we needed. Jan allowed us to make a better, more informed decision, and save money when we updated our contract.

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General Compression-Related Consulting

Key benefits: The ability to discuss compression related topics with a knowledgeable source to quickly formulate the optimal strategy or workflow.

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Case Study 1:  Thislife.com is a site for organizing and sharing photographs and videos that was recently acquired by Shutterfly. The founders approached us with a list of questions and presets designed to enable playback on their target platforms and achieve the optimal blend of quality and data rate efficience. Co-founder Matt Johnson said,

In just a couple of hours, Jan helped clarify the best alternatives for encoding and delivering our videos, and then helped us complete one set of H.264 parameters for distributing via Flash, to iDevices and via HTML5. Working with Jan turned out to be an incredibly efficient way to finalize our video strategy.

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Fees and Getting Started

Pricing: We charge $150 per hour for consulting time. All engagements start with a conference where services and deliverables are identified and a hard time/dollar estimate is provided. Fees won’t exceed estimates without prior approval.

To get in touch, call Jan Ozer at 276-238-9135, email Jan at jozer@mindspring.com, or complete and submit the form below. The form is kind of formal, but it captures the information we'd talk about during the first few minutes of our call, so it won't be a waste of time.

However you choose to get in touch, we look forward to hearing from you.

Streaming Consulting Questionairre

Please complete the following questions regarding your streaming plans and submit it, and I'll (Jan Ozer) will be in touch within 24 hours.